I was approached by Mr Thompkins via email about reviewing his novel The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines. This is a self-published work and one I will not be able to read for at least a month because of the pile of other books I have recently gotten from publishers. I plan on reading this book and writing up a review on it but in the meantime in the interests of encouraging other people to write and giving them a chance to publicize their own work I offered to let him post a promotional piece here at Battles & Book Reviews. Below is the text he sent me to promote his book. Notice that it is available for free on Smashwords.
In 1992 Somalia was on the brink of humanitarian disaster. Warring tribes had sparked a violent civil war following the collapse of the Barre government in 1991. The distribution of food and resources was heavily disrupted, leaving the people of Southern Somalia to starve; 300,000 would die in the famine. As the death-toll rose and the intensity of the conflict increased, a team of United Nations Peacekeepers, led by the United States, entered Somalia with the aim of creating a protected environment for humanitarian operations.
The mission was known as Operation Restore Hope.
Eddie Clay served as a US Marine peacekeeper during Operation Restore Hope. The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines is based on his personal experiences in Somalia between 9 December 1992 and 21 March 1993. Clay recounts the pursuit of a beloved and revered warlord, the disarming of an entire community – and its unexpected consequences – and reveals how he fell in love with a beautiful Somali interpreter named Ayan. He explains the challenges, the fears and the crisis of ‘conscience versus the Rules of Engagement’ he shared with his fellow Marines, Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers during this notorious humanitarian mission.
This is his story.
I will say up front that I have read every book by Stephen King. He generally hits it out of the park but he has had some books that I just hated, Gerald’s Game and The Dark Tower Series come immediately to mind as duds. 11/22/63 is not one of them. It is a great book that you won’t want to put down until the end.
Ostensibly, this is the story of a man who goes back in time to try and stop the assassination of JFK in Dealey Plaza. That is how it starts and for the first little bit you will think that is all it is about. Stopping Oswald ends up being peripheral to the story in the end, but that does not affect how great this book is. This is not your typical Stephen King horror book either. It has elements of Sc-Fi, adventure, and love story to it. I actually don’t think this book fits into any specific category other than being a Stephen King book. It has his signature vivid writing style and storyline that sucks you in.
If you liked other King works such as Roadwork or Shawshank Redemption, you will love 11/22/63. This is similar to those stories, a compelling plot with little horror but plenty of suspense and drama.
This improbable tale of brave rabbits is a classic and one of the best stories I have ever read. It first came out in the seventies and a movie adaptation was made in 1978 by the BBC. It is the tale of a group of rabbits who leave their home warren because of a premonition and the many adventures they have as they cross the English countryside in search of a new home and go through the struggles of establishing one on Watership Down. The story itself is outstanding but what makes it even cooler in my opinion is that all the places in the book actually exist. A Google Maps search fro Watership Down will take you to it and there are several pictures of places featured in the book that someone has uploaded.
One of the best parts of the book are the several asides to tell the stories of el-Ahrairah, a legendary rabbit who had many adventures. They are the rabbit equivalent of Greek Myths and just as entertaining in their own right. My personal favorite is the story of Rowsby Woof and the Fairy Wogdog.
I first read the book when I was 8 and have read it several times since then. It is ostensibly a children’s Book but it can be enjoyed by people of all ages. In the end it is not a morality tale so much as a tale of survival and prosperity against the odds. Excellent book and on a par with To Kill a Mockingbird or All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful: Three James Herriot Classics. Everybody should read this book.
The Yuotube video of the BBC produced movie is embedded below:
Countdown: H Hour is the third installment in the Countdown series, hopefully there are plenty more still to come as this just built onto the already strong premise of the first two books. This book happens at the same time as the events in M Day but in the Phillipines as part of the Regiment conducts a completely separate mission to rescue a rich Phillipino businessman who has been kidnapped by a group of Moro terrorists from the Basilan region. The action is almost non-stop as the short battalion for the mission conducts operations in Somalia, Basilan, and around Manila in the course of the book. Adam, the Somali kidnapped in the first book, and the reason M-Day was founded, makes a small cameo appearance in the book.
The usual subtle and not-so-subtle political commentary is sprinkled throughout the book. Libs will hate that although I love it. I have about as much use for the Tranzis of the world as does Mr. Kratman. He includes the usual afterword designed to set the brains , if they have any, Tranzis of the world on fire. He also teases us with the title of the next book in the series, Criminal Enterprise, with no idea of release date.
The only complaint I have about this book as I have with most books is that I read it too fast. That is my fault though because I am a fast reader. At 624 pages it is not a small book. Tom Kratman has once again produced a fast paced, exciting narrative that also throws some food for thought into the mix. Another excellent work that I highly recommend to anyway into combat SF or combat fiction.
A Hymn Before Battle is the first book in Ringo’s Posleen War Series. It is also Ringo’s first published book if I have my facts straight. Regardless, when I first read this book back in 2002 I thought then and have been subsequently proved right that there are authors out there that are just as good as Heinlein at catching the readers attention and keeping it and Ringo is one of them.
Imagine horse-sized reptiloid centaurs that think you are lunch, use advanced weaponry, and think the massed wave attack is the height of tactical finesse. The book is the story of how humanity discovers that not only are we not alone in the universe, there are bad aliens out there and that they are coming for the earth to not only conquer it, but to use humans as snacks. It starts fast and stays that way throughout the whole book. The story centers around Michael O’Neal, who not only designs the powered infantry combat armor to be used against the Posleen but is then instrumental in leading a platoon outfitted with that armor to save a big chunk of the first human expeditionary force to another planet.
This book is an outstanding page-turner that leaves wanting to know how the story continues. Luckily, this series has spawned a range of spinoffs as well as continuing. It is well worth reading.